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LONG ISLAND-BOUND: Jeff Tambellini

by Jason Lockhart / New York Islanders
Jeff Tambellini

Left Wing
Height: 5-11     
Weight: 186     
Shoots: Left
Born: April 23, 1984 – Port Moody, British Columbia  
2006-07 Team: Islanders/Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL)
Acquired: from the Los Angeles Kings on March 8, 2006 along with Denis Grebeshkov and a third round pick for Mark Parrish and Brent Sopel


2006-07 Overview

Jeff, son to former Islander speedster Steve Tambellini, was among the most fit at the Islanders' 2006 training camp. His work ethic and strong play impressed Garth Snow, Ted Nolan and the rest of the coaching staff enough to earn him a spot on the Islanders' opening day roster and in the lineup for the season's first game.

However, the Islanders elected to go with a more experienced Andy Hilbert, resulting in Tambellini's departure to the team's AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Tambellini made the most of this move. The former Michigan Wolverine finished first on the team with 30 goals and 59 points in only 50 games.

The native of Port Moody, British Columbia saw time in both shorthanded and extra-man situations. Tambellini tied for the team lead in power play goals with ten, and exhibited his defensive responsibility by leading the team in plus/minus with a +10.

While Tambellini made not have earned a full-time spot with the Islanders, his hard work in Bridgeport paid off, allowing him to see 23 games with the big club. In those games Tambellini was 2-7-9 along with a +6 plus/minus rating. After playing in the Islanders' first game on Oct. 5, Tambellini didn't see ice time in the NHL until Feb. 1 against Atlanta, when he made a big splash, picking up three assists in a 5-2 win.

Tambellini proved to be a valuable asset during the Islanders' four-game winning streak to end the season. He earned a primary assist in each of the Islanders' final two games, helping lead the team to an improbable postseason berth.


What They're Saying...

Bridgeport head coach Jack Capuano: "Professionalism, in every sense of the word, describes Jeff. He has great hockey sense and combines that with an NHL shot and skating. The key to his tremendous skating is his great acceleration. But it wasn't just his on-ice talents that impressed the coaching staff. He was a role model for our guys in the dressing room with his off-ice habits. Jeff takes a lot of pride in his work ethic."

Islanders head coach Ted Nolan: "The one thing about Jeff, you always know you're going to get an honest effort. He's still learning, but he's a talented player who works hard and is getting better at doing all the little things."

Before He Was an Islander

Before turning pro, Tambellini was a three-year standout with the Michigan Wolverines. After scoring a team-high 26 goals and 45 points in his freshman season, Tambellini was chosen in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angles Kings. In his rookie season, Tambellini led the Wolverines to the NCAA Frozen Four in Buffalo, New York, where his team lost in a tight 3-2 overtime game against eventual champion Minnesota. Following the conclusion of the 2002-03 season, Tambellini was named the CCHA's rookie of the year.

The next two years, Tambellini continued to prove he was worth his first-round NHL draft status, finishing his college career with 65-64-131 in 124 games. After completing his junior year, Tambellini signed with the Los Angeles Kings at the start of the 2005-06 season. In 56 games with the Kings' AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, Tambellini was 25-31-56 in 56 games. He also saw four games that season with the Kings before being traded to the Islanders in March of 2006.

What's Next?

After playing in a quarter of the Islanders' games last season, Tambellini will once again try to earn a permanent spot on the team's roster going into the Islanders' 2007 training camp.

"Jeff needs to continue to work on his one-on-one battles," said Capuano. "He also needs to demonstrate his physical play on the forecheck and finish his checks. It was a pleasure coaching a player, who carried himself so well all season. After what he did last season, he opened up some eyes. His attitude, work ethic and high character gives him a chance to earn a spot with the Islanders at this year's training camp." PROJECTion

Expect Tambellini to come to camp as energized and prepared as he was for last year's training camp. He should exhibit even more confidence and strong play, allowing him to make a serious run for a full-time spot with the Islanders.

There isn't much to not like about Tambellini, who is a pleasure to watch on the ice and as affable as they come off the ice. After gaining some experience last season and showing he can perform on the big stage, Tambellini will make it difficult for Nolan to not give him an Islanders sweater.


  Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2000-01 Chilliwack Chiefs BCHL 54 21 30 51 13 -- -- -- -- --
2001-02 Chilliwack Chiefs BCHL 0 0 0 0 0 -- -- -- -- --
2002-03 U. of Michigan NCAA 43 26 19 45 24 -- -- -- -- --
2003-04 U. of Michigan NCAA 39 15 12 27 18 -- -- -- -- --
2004-05 U. of Michigan NCAA 42 24 33 57 32 -- -- -- -- --
2005-06 Manchester Monarchs AHL 56 25 31 56 26 -- -- -- -- --
2005-06 Los Angeles Kings  NHL 4 0 0 0 2 -- -- -- -- --
2005-06 New York Islanders NHL 21 1 3 4 8 -- -- -- -- --
2005-06 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL -- -- -- -- -- 7 1 2 3 2
2006-07 New York Islanders NHL 23 2 7 9 6 -- -- -- -- --
2005-06 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 50 30 29 59 46 -- -- -- -- --
NHL TOTALS     48 3 10 13 16 -- -- -- -- --
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